Wei Probes RNA-Binding Proteins with Algorithms 

  • Chenchen Wei '19 points out a piece of data to Prof. Jing Hu. The student says she learned a lot of knowledge beyond the classroom, and her research motivated her to read other research papers on her own time outside of the project. Chenchen Wei '19 points out a piece of data to Prof. Jing Hu. The student says she learned a lot of knowledge beyond the classroom, and her research motivated her to read other research papers on her own time outside of the project.

​At first, Chenchen Wei '19 just wanted to know if she would enjoy doing  research and if  she wanted to be a researcher or to pursue a PhD degree in future.  "After I immersed myself in this research, I found that it was a really enjoyable experience to explore and use algorithms to solve several pieces of a problem and, finally, build a huge pyramid to solve complex problems," says the computer science major.

The goal of summer research, "RNA-binding Proteins Prediction by Using Machine Learning Algorithms," that Chenchen conducted with Prof. Jing Hu was to explore a new and efficient bioinformatics method by applying machine learning algorithms to predict if a protein is RNA-binding or not. By using computational methods, the pair wanted to detect if a protein sequence is RNA-binding or not with high prediction accuracy. 

 

Be curious, patient and persistent.  Look at obstacles as a contribution to your research.

 

Detection of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) is essential, Chenchen explains, since the RNA-binding proteins play critical roles in post-transcriptional regulation and have diverse roles in various biological processes, such as post-transcriptional gene regulation, alternative splicing and translation. "From our research," Chenchen states, "the method we were trying to develop will help biologists detect RBPs more efficiently so that they can explore the characteristics of RBPs."

"Although sometimes Prof. Hu and I encountered a problem that was hard to solve during our research, we still believed we could find a way to figure it out," says the student researcher.  "This is  really important for students who will do research in future. Never be discouraged.  Be curious, patient and persistent.  Look at obstacles as a contribution to your research."